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Most of us live our lives on autopilot. We do not realize that we can control our thoughts and, therefore, our minds. Just to check, listen to that inner voice in your head right now, which is saying something to you. Many of us live our lives listening to this inner voice and, in many cases believing it too. But do we know what or who this inner voice is?
The inner voice is nothing but all the noises we picked up from our environment while we were kids - from our teachers, parents, friends, siblings, and many other people who came into our lives. The spiritually inclined may not agree since they think that the inner voice is either God’s or our conscience. Well, this may not be completely false, but there is an easy way to demarcate them. When your inner voice congratulates you, encourages you, or speaks good about you, go ahead and believe that it is indeed your conscience or the Creator. Needless to say, the opposite is the inner voice picked up by us from our surroundings.
This inner voice's hallmark would be all the muck that is relentlessly thrown at us. Mostly they would be discouraging, disheartening, and blaming us for everything. Remember and remember this well - we are not our thoughts. We can always become what we want with or without our thoughts. So, if you find your thoughts encouraging, then use them as a lever to push you forward. On the other hand, if you find the inner voice against you, just ignore it and move forward.
I wonder if you are having a tough time understanding this part. Let’s put this inner voice to the test.
Go to a silent room and sit with a book and pen. Calm yourself and breathe deep and slow. Concentrate on your breathing in and breathing out. Once you find yourself comfortable, start noticing the thoughts that cross your mind.
As these thoughts get your attention, write down each one of them. Be honest with yourself since this for your own good and not something to be evaluated by someone. Depending on where you had been and what you had been doing, some thoughts, as an example, could be:
1. I hate that dog? (negative)
2. I will never be able to give a speech on stage (negative)
3. I did a good job in the office yesterday (positive)
4. It was such a good weekend (positive)
And many more thoughts may come by. Take about two to three minutes to write down the thoughts that come by.
In the above example, we had outlined some of the positive and negative thoughts together, but the fact is that when we are in a flow of thoughts, it can be only positive or only negative. Think about it - how often do we feel good and feel bad at the same time? Chances are never. We are either feeling good or feeling bad, and that in turn depends on the thoughts we think. Of course, we do tend to oscillate between the good and the bad sometimes.
After three minutes of writing down your thoughts, evaluate the thoughts, and ask yourself why you feel that way. For example, some of the questions can be:
a. Why do you hate that dog?
You may end up with reasons like since they are not clean, ticks, etc. Write down those reasons.
b. Now ask yourself, when was the first time you felt that way about dogs?
The answers could go something like, my mom used to say so, my father hated dogs, or my neighbor felt so.
At that moment, we realize the source of your thoughts. We will surprise ourselves with the number of thoughts we think and realize that more than 95% of the thoughts were not our creation!!
This is what I mean when I say that our thoughts or inner voice actually is the effect of our environment on us. Over a period of time of re-running the same thought again and again in our mind, we have trained ourselves to make that a belief. As such, they become auto-suggestive, and we believe them to be true.
The good news is that we can reprogram our thoughts, just how we programmed them when we were young. Back then, it was easy because our minds were like a sponge absorbing everything, but we can still undo the damage. Of course, I don’t have to say that you leave the positive thoughts alone as they assist in your progress. It is the negative ones that need to be dealt with. How do we do it?
One of the effective ways of doing them is through *affirmations*. Affirmations are a whole new topic, and I will discuss them separately. However, let’s take one of the negative thoughts as an example.
I will never be able to give a speech on stage
The affirmation could be:
*I love addressing people from a stage*
At first, the affirmation may not even sound like an acceptable statement, but the trick is to repeatedly state it until it takes root in your subconscious. Once done, it will erase the past and change your perspective for the better.
The sooner we get rid of our powerless thoughts, the faster we will be able to take charge of our lives and hence, our future. So, take charge and work towards creating a more promising and healthy future.